Directed by Remi Allier, Little Hands (Les Petites Mains) has more character and content than many widely released films from this year.
Leo is the two-year-old son of a factory manager, but the factory is in desperate times, with a rioting workforce that realizes that the end is near. When angry and frustrated employee Bruno sees the chance for leverage, he impulsively grabs baby Leo and runs, leading to a heart-racing escalation of events.
Little Hands (Les Petites Mains) is another example of a short film that is so tightly constructed that after it ends you can almost imagine a feature-length version being optioned. Obviously the time helps ramp up the tension, but there is a lot of plot here that would lend itself well to an extended runtime.
The basic premise is simple, but there is quite a lot going on. The closure of the unknown factory, the relationship between the owner and staff, and the horror of the kidnapping of a child has everything that would bring a mainstream audience to a theatre. There is tension, social relevance, and suspense aplenty here, and there are moments where, as a viewer, you are moved from shock and terror to an eventual finale.
The film is English subtitled, director Remi is French, and won the equivalent of a French Oscar earlier in the year. Remi is a young but highly skilled director, currently studying in Belgium; his previous film, and thesis work, Zinneke, was selected for multiple festivals around the world, and he is working on his first full-length movie.
Little Hands shows what can be done with a good concept, a small budget, and informed performances. The direction, cinematography, music and minimal dialogue is a masterclass in short filmmaking, and this production has more intensity and drama than a lot of films I have sat through this year.
Remi Allier is a name that you should watch for, and if you get a chance check out this hidden gem.
Louie Fecou reviews films, tv shows and comics for Ready Steady Cut, HC Movie Reviews and We Have A Hulk. He currently runs his own business in between watching films.